January 6, 2017 / 11:39 AM / 6 months ago

Liverpool's Karius has benefited from time on bench - Klopp

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Britain Football Soccer - Liverpool v Manchester City - Premier League - Anfield - 31/12/16 Liverpool's Loris Karius during the warm up before the match Reuters / Phil Noble Livepic

(Reuters) - Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius has benefited from his time on the sidelines and he has a good chance of starting Sunday's FA Cup third-round clash with fourth tier Plymouth Argyle at Anfield, his manager Juergen Klopp said on Friday.

Karius came under intense scrutiny after making a series of costly errors, forcing Klopp to drop the 23-year-old German last month and replace him with Simon Mignolet.

"It's difficult to speak about these things in public because you make all of these things big stories. But we cannot ignore the pressure you make," Klopp told reporters.

"We have to cope with it we have to deal with it, and that's why we made the change before. Sure, Loris will benefit from this step back, or step aside if you like.

"Loris forces him (Mignolet) to train on the highest level because we have two really good goalkeepers."

Young left back Joe Gomez is set to return to the squad for the first time since he suffered a long-term injury in September 2015, but the Sunday's game comes too early for injured trio Philippe Coutinho, Joel Matip and James Milner.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte suggested there could be up to six teams fighting for the league title this season after his side's 2-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.

Klopp, however, feels there is still some way to go before any of the chasing pack pose a threat to Chelsea, who have a five-point cushion at the top of the table after 20 games.

"It makes no sense to look at the other teams because we have no influence on the games. That's still the case after the game (Chelsea defeat)," the 49-year-old German added.

"After 20 games 44 points, the second best in the league, is still good. That's absolutely OK, more than OK, but it's only the base for the rest of the season."

Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond

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